I was fortunate to travel to Vancouver in 2010 to experience the Winter Olympics. This trip ranks among the top five most memorable moments of my life.
I remember walking each day with a sense of American pride. As I walked the streets and saw fellow Americans, I had to regularly stop myself from shouting, "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
I am officially and publicly announcing, right now, that I am an Olympic Games junkie. I get completely pumped about the opening ceremonies and spend way too much time planted in front of the television watching people accomplish their dreams.
While considering what it is that fascinates me about the Olympians, I realized the list is the same as the list that describes why I’m in awe of our nation’s military men and women (especially the six Olympians and 18 Paralympians who are ALSO in the military).
- They train.
- They’re disciplined.
- They beat the odds.
- They sacrifice.
- They fail, but keep going.
- They succeed, and come back for more.
- They support (even in times of failure).
- They’re humble.
- They win.
- They love our country.
We stand together cheering our soldiers and sailors onward in hopes they will complete their tasks victorious. We cry when our significant others experience a loss. We stand together as victories are won.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to see a child or husband upon the blocks as they receive the Gold. I do know what it feels like to welcome home a husband after a 12-month deployment.
Lord knows, that day feels like I imagine taking home the Gold would feel (I looked like a crazed lunatic running through the airport in 3-inch stilettos, by the way).
Whether athletes who have dedicated their lives in pursuit of a dream to represent our great nation in the international sports arena, or military men and women who sacrifice year after year for our nation’s freedom, there is no doubt in my mind they are both the epitome of “united we stand.”
This year, as you sit watching the events, I encourage you to do the following:
Take a moment and be proud. Be proud of the athletes. Be proud of yourself for hanging with your spouse and sacrificing from your life so he/she may serve. Be proud of your spouse and all that he/she gives to our country.
Take a second and thank the ones that serve. Thank an athlete. Thank a service member. Thank a military spouse.
I wish all countries well in the 2014 Winter Games. I love the Games because they allow us to stand together as nations, and they force us to put politics aside and simply compete for the love of the game.
I look forward to seeing many more American athletes bring home the Gold and I look forward to thanking my husband in the very near future for his service and his heart of gold. I’m proud of all the military families that stay on the homefront to continually cheer our military Olympians on each and every day.
(Feel free to shout U-S-A! U-S-A! as you finish reading this. Because I will.)
Jessica Bertsch is a proud Coastie wife and mom of a 2 year old. In her “spare” time she runs Powerhouse Planning, LLC www.powerhouseplanning.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.